Colorado Springs is, in the words of National Public Radio, a "mecca" for evangelical Christians. Focus on the Family (founded by James Dobson), the New Life Church (founded by Ted Haggard) and at least 100 Christian organizations called it home in 2005.
Dubbed "the Evangelical Vatican," the Colorado Springs Independent featured a front page story in August 2010 on the difficulties that skeptics and non-believers encountered in Colorado Springs, saying that they were fearful of making their beliefs known to co-workers and friends.
In this environment, a billboard from the Colorado Coalition of Reason is creating controversy before it's even gone up. The sign reads "God Is An Imaginary Friend — Choose Reality, It Will Be Better for All of Us." The billboard will be displayed for four weeks at the intersection of I-25 and Garden of the Gods. Groff Schroeder, a member of the Colorado Coalition of Reason hopes that the display will encourage conversation and also help non-believers know that they are not alone.
KKTV Channel 11 News interviewed people on the street about their opinions. "I think it's a crazy idea. Even the dollar bills says 'In God We Trust,'" one man told the reporter. "So he's not an imaginary friend. Even the U.S. government recognizes him as a being."
A woman feared that children's minds will be influenced. "If a kid reads it," she told KKTV's reporter, "they might look at it in a different way. Then they're going to question their parents. It's not appropriate for someone else to decide what their kids get to see on a big billboard like that."
The group is putting up two other billboards in the Denver area.